tv The Cycle MSNBC September 12, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT
in an instant, foreign policy is back in the headlines, it started with a film mocking the prophet muhammad went viral in the middle east sparked protests in the middle east where a perimeter wall was scaled. this after roadblocks removed that then replaced the american flag with an islamic one. the government issued a condemnation and muslim brotherhood is calling for much larger nationwide protests on friday and tuesday riders stormed the consulate with rocket-propelled grenades. u.s. ambassador chris stevens and three other americans were killed trying to get to safety. secretary of state hillary clinton pointed out some libyans did fight with the americans, led others to safety and carried the ambassador's body to the
hospital. she, the president and mitt romney condemned the attacks strongly. >> this is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world. this was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of libya. but let me be clear. there is no justification for this. none. violence like this is no way to honor religion or faith. >> the world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutdal acts. these four americans stood up for freedom and human dignity. we will not waiver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act and make no mistake. justice will be done. >> this attack on american individuals and embassies is outrageous. it's disgusting. it breaks the hearts of all of
us. we cannot hesitate to use our influence in the region to support those who share our values and our interests. >> now, all of this has sparked a political firestorm between the two campaigns. we'll have more on that later on in the show and talking now, 200 additional marines specializing in security on the way to the u.s. embassy in tripoli. military is considering sending similar troops to other embassies across the region and the u.s. embassy in afghanistan is asking afghan officials for help maintaining calm over the video. here at home, flags of the u.s. capitol are now at half staff in honor of chris stevens. nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel just filed this report for us. >> reporter: as details emerged on the two attacks on u.s. diplomatic facilities it's clear the ones in cairo certainly a more spontaneous feeling. here demonstrators rose up. they were agitated, infuriated that an internet video posted
online. even though it's posted sometime ago ridiculing islam and the prophet muhammad. those demonstrators scaled the wall at the u.s. embassy, pulled down the flag and didn't hurt anybody inside. in benghazi, the less like that it seems. it was a commando-style raid in benghazi where militants may have been angry about the same video but clearly moved in with a military style tactic. they had r the gs, heavy ma svein machine guns. it was two waves. that's not the spontaneous mob activity like we saw here in cairo. that's the kind of thing in benghazi carried out by a militant group, a terrorist group, by al qaeda potentially. and u.s. officials are looking in to that right now. also, wondering was it just a coincidence that the u.s.
ambassador who's based in tripoli happened to be in benghazi at the very time of the attack? so, a lot of questions but it's clear now that these were two very different incidents. spontaneous uprising that resulted in no casualties here in cairo and a guerrilla assault in benghazi that killed the u.s. ambassador. all right. here with us now is former u.s. ambassador mark ginsburg. mark, i want to start with the response yesterday from the u.s. embassy in cairo. what the statement the embassy put out taken heat here politically in the u.s. and caused controversy. the embassy of the united states of cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided vinls to hurt the rely jougs feelings of muslims as we condemn efforts to hurt all believers.
before the attacks had begun and american fatalities. it seems to me like a reasonable statement of people trying to keep the peace and prevent attack on the embassy. do you think there was anything out of line about this statement or do you think this was a reasonable thing for an embassy in cairo to be doing? >> this was an absolutely reasonable thing for the embassy in cairo to be doing. politics in the united states notwithstanding. i would have issued or had authorized my public affairs staff to issue a similar statement for what essentially was a demonstration and try to calm things without knowledge, of course, how this violence was going to break out next door in libya. listen, i can't put myself in the shoes of the ambassador of egypt. i don't know what exactly she knew or didn't know at the time when the statement was issued. the fact of the matter is there is obviously question over whether it was cleared with washington at the state department but the fact of the matter is at the time it was a
reasonable statement. >> ambassador, what do you make of the news that egyptian police abandoned the posts and allowed the mob to do what they wanted to do there? does it appear it's sanctioned on a higher level? >> i'm deeply concerned of the replication of president morsi's willingness to play politics with the united states and other foreign governments while he tries to play his own game of politics with the muslim brotherhood and as well as with the extremist allies of his. just a few months ago, a mob attacked the israeli ambassador in cairo and required president obama to intervene with mr. morsi directly. the fact is the united states embassy knew that there were some demonstration that was going to be likely around the embassy. the fact that the police were somehow ordered to vacate the premises shall i say and i'll say this as politely as i can. was patently unacceptable on the part of the morsi government and
sanctioned by the united states. >> ambassador ginsburg, in your statement that it was a realistic response or a reasonable response on the part of the embassy in cairo, i'm wondering, get your take why you think the obama administration then walked it back and said this was not the shared belief of the president. >> well, i frankly, think that, clearly, events started getting out of control of what was supposed to be a passive statement on the part of perhaps the public affairs office of the u.s. embassy. you have to understand the embassy in egypt is huge. there's all sorts of divisions and very likely that the statement came out of a staffer at the embassy. >> right. >> without it being cleared. we don't know that. the fact of the matter is that clearly this violence escalated. the situation in egypt began demonstrating that the morsi government was playing games with the united states on this. and so, rightfully so, the white
house had to step in and basically take everything in to account and realize that the embassy statement needed to be put in to broadest context. >> all right. just real quick, we have word now that the egyptian government that fjp called for more nationwide protests on friday. we also know that the u.s. is considering sending additional troops to cairo. is it realistic at all that tensions are going to sort of calm down with these two forces set to possibly collide on friday? >> well, i don't know why mr. morsi had to call for demonstrations on the part of the muslim brotherhood on friday after prayers. that's, frankly, unacceptable. look. there's very little leverage over a man determined to use the united states as a boogieman for the interests inside egypt. he's dependent on american foreign assistance and the willingness of the united states taxpayer proto provide debt
relief. there's no reason why the obama administration or the united states has to play his game. if he's going to play games with the safety of the diplomats in cairo he doesn't deserve to have us running over there and offering him money under these circumstances. we have to basically send a strong signal to a new president that while he may be the new man in town, the new game doesn't have to be played under his rules. >> ambassador ginsberg, if we could look at the region broadly, a vexing question facing the united states right now is what's in the best interest of the u.s.? a sort of friendly cooperative dictator, though they may be brutally repressive to the people or a messy, uncertain democracy like in egypt and libya right now. >> the genie's out of the bottle in the middle east. the fact of the matter is every one of the countries going through a transition and it's going to take many acts to follow before we know what's
going to happen, whether it's in egypt, syria, saudi arabia or iran. the problem is right now the united states standing in the region has deteriorated rapidly in the last couple of years under president obama. since his cairo speech. most unfortunate. i'm the last person to want to see that. i think the president had the best of intentions to try to rebuild ties with the muslim world but the high expectations of what to deliver versus the changes taking place have created a circumstance where there's great disappointment with the united states, whether it's by syrians or by egyptians and others and what we're dealing with. we cannot put the genie back in the bottle. >> ambassador, could you elaborate more? what do you think caused that understood mining? >> the fact we haven't been able to forge a peace between israel and the palestinians, the fact that when the president went to cairo he committed the united
states to help develop more support of democratic institutions, the president was seen as siding with president mubarak and not with the revolution in egypt, in particular. the fact is that while we stood tall in libya, what happened in libya stayed in libya. didn't basically permeate throughout the region and so there's this lateen residual resentme resentment. i run the largest arab satellite production company in the united states and on the ground all the time. you can feel it that this residual resentment percolating again against the united states and i wish we could do more and we have to do more to try to stop it. >> ambassador, please stay with us as we talked about briefly there are big 2012 political implications to this. mitt romney giving a glimpse of the take on middle east foreign policy. that conversation is coming up. but next, the white house, israel and iran. lots to get to for wednesday, september 12th.
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more developing news out of the middle east today. the white house is dealing with storms on multiple fronts right now aside from the crisis in egypt and libya, diplomat depositions flared up with israel. president obama spent an hour on the phone last night with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu discussing his criticism of the u.s. more not acting tough enough about iran's nuclear program. those comments come as european officials urge israel to trust the sanctions imposed on iranian
oil and the banking system and to avoid direct military action. so, i vanted to start with you, mike. when's the white house saying ant this today? >> reporter: it's interesting, krystal. two years ago when the tensions began and first started being talked about with good reason, we might add, the white house was very quick to water that down, to hose everybody down saying it was exaggerated. you remember that incident and the prime minister was supposedly left in the west wing sort of cooling his heels waiting to meet with the president. it never happened. now there's very little doubt that there is tension and the relationship between the two men not the best. go back to that comment earlier this year and the president endorsed going back to the 1967, pre-1967 prewar borders of israel. face to face in the oval office from benjamin netanyahu if you recall. fast forward to this weekend. in an interview secretary of
state clinton says we are not setting deadlines on iran. and when we or the united states in conjunction with israel or however it's configured instigates military action to stop the facilities when they're enriching uranium drew a sharp rebuke of benjamin netanyahu saying if we can't give red lines to iran, you can't give red lights to israel. talking about the possibility of unilateral israeli military action. people suspect there are politics involved. netanyahu acutely aware of the political dynamic here with republicans and the president and mitt romney. mitt romney pitting the president time and time again on the israeli poll saying saying the president has thrown israel under the bus, calling it the greatest failure of the administration and just more complicated from here on out. >> all right. >> so the squabbling, guys, between netanyahu and president obama, most recently over this
perceived snub at least has one person a little annoyed, defense minister barack said yesterday that israel and the u.s. should find a way to resolve the differences behind closed doors. ambassador ginsberg, i wonder if this is a version of if you don't stop annoying me, i'm going to turn this car around and go home right now. i mean, it seems very sort of childish to have your defense minister scolding two heads of state over having this sort of school talk out in the open. >> it's very disconcerting for these of us who are following this very closely. the fact of the matter is that israel is convinced that as long as iran continues to accelerate, its nuclear program and on the verge according to the international atomic energy agency to produce a weapon and saying that the united states is
against developing a nuclear weapon and israelis saying what more do you want? walks like a duck. gawking like a duck. you have to run away from admitting this is a duck. this is clearly where thedy vur intelligence divergence. is there an issue of israel wanted a firm line if the line is crossed? >> well, there's no doubt that israel is convinced that most israeli military officials will say this. that they don't believe that unilaterally israel can complete the job of dealing with the consequences of an attack by iran or hezbollah on israel. as you hear they believe that until iran actually produces a nuclear weapon why rush to judgment at this point in time until sanctions work?
>> all right. ambassador marc ginsberg and mike vick ra, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. i want to bring back to the table continued sniping between the president and the prime minister netanyahu. steve, what do you think is going on here? >> the dynamic though between netanyahu and barack, there's an internal politics sub text to this because we can talk about this is what israel wants and concern is. opinion in israel is not nearly monolithic as we're led to believe here and the dynamic you have right now is this. benjamin netanyahu's political standing in israel is not that strong right now. part of this has to do with the economy. they have economic problems over there and part of his very hawkish tone toward iran is meeting increasing skepticism in israel and one political figure in israel who sort of has the stature to take on netanyahu next year in the elections, it's barack. he was a prime minister from 1999 to 2001. he's now technically in the government but he's as the defense minister and this is the
guy who could take him on so you have several several times in the past few months and netanyahu making noise and really gone out on a limb here making it clear without saying it that mitt romney is the kand did it and wants mitt romney out and barack is making that clear to israelis so you have a situation here and a lot of egg on netanyahu's face politically in israel and that could roll in to the elections next year. >> interesting how the u.s. political elections and israeli political elections coming together in an uncomfortable way. the one thing that i would point out is below the sort of superficial sniping going on at the top level there's continuing cooperation, great cooperation under president obama. we have had hundreds of millions spent to develop the iron dome missile defense system. we have had the deepest military cooperation that we've seen and we have had also barack saying this is the greatest cooperation that we have seen so below the
frosty personal relationship, they seem to be able to continue to work together and accomplish shared goals. >> i just want to move us forward a little bit as the president said nothing justified what happened. i think everybody agrees with that but i see two visions of america within this. one, sort of shown in an ambassador stooeevens e-mail in july. he's talking about being back there again. people smile and are much more open with foreigners. enjoying unusual popularity. let's hope it lasts. he is like many americans seeing the humanity of the people and seeing hope for the region and then there's people like terry jones and whatever the name of the director of the film is, a name online and some people saying that the pseudonym and islam is a cancer and making the film where muhammad is portrayed as an aprooufr of child sex abuse and about terry jones, we live in an age where speech acts
can escape confinement and understanding how easily to prove to himself his contention that islamic religion is violent and krups, regularly yells fire in crowded theaters and that's what this little film does which kind of a homemade little thing is yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. look. islam is not our enemy. a small part of islam is our enemy. but when we demonize the entire religion and deal in islamophobia we enflame the problem that existed for decades. all right. we have talked about news and the geo political implications. next, taking on the politics. what it all means for the 2012 race. mom: ready to go to work? ♪ ♪
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but also for the words that come from his ambassadors, for his administration, from his embassies, from his state department. they clearly, they clearly sent mixed messages to the world and the statement that came from the administration and the embassy is the administration. >> they asked for it. there it was. today, mitt romney refusing to back down. there's a lot of back and forth of who said what and when. here's the breakdown as we best know it. tuesday morning the u.s. embassy in cairo issues a statement denouncing that anti-islamic amateur video and reads in part we condemn the continuing efforts of misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of muslims. a tweet around the same time reaffirms the earlier statement. at 10:10 p.m., the campaign sends out an embargoed statement calling the obama administration response, quote, disgraceful for not first condemning the attacks but sympathizing with those who
waged the attack. politico reports the white house is distancing itself from the cairo embassy statement saying no one in washington approved it. 10:26, the embargo on the romney statement is lifted early and can be reported. right after midnight, the obama campaign formally responds to romney saying it's shocked. fast forward and you get the duelling speeches this morning. romney slamming the president for that embassy statement. president obama did not mention the political back and forth at all. so why does this tick-tock matter? well, here's my take. first, i want to put up a tweet from our friend chuck todd and i think really set the scene appropriately earlier this morning saying let's not lose sight of a larger concern for morn foreign policy. the silence of the egyptian government. more serious development than mitt. even though the egyptian
government saying something, still, i think that's right. that said let's talk about the politics for a minute. i just want to start out. two points. one, i understand where mitt was coming from. he had had his back to the wall for a week foreign policy. not mentioning afghanistan. not having experience on the ticket. i think he was waiting for an opportunity to come up, pounce, call in to question obama's leadership on foreign policy and there are plenty of moments past to do that. last night i don't think was the right one. hindsight is 20/20 but if i had been advising him, i would have told him wait until the morning. come out condemning the attacks. ask why there wasn't enough coordination between cairo and washington. and then ask what obama means exactly when he says justice will be done. it's a moving forward approach that has all the facts, no room for embarrassment later and i
think asks some very reasonable questions to make him look smart and not impetuous. >> and in control. >> disciplined. >> right. >> you laid out a perfectly good strategy that the romney campaign should have followed. >> should hire you. >> call me maybe. >> a trade for them is -- too complicated. >> right. >> her's the problem for romney. as i see it. he's already been losing on the foreign policy question, losing to obama and dlats on the question of who do you trust with foreign policy? this may become in part a foreign policy election. the idea is maybe the moment to erase the advantage of barack obama had. what i'm remembering of the noise and the criticism from the media for this statement last night today, the risk is something akin to what happened to john mccain. i'm thinking of september 2008 and the week that wall street melted down.
>> ah, yes. >> jahmeshia started to fall behind in the race an saw a moment to sort of flash the maverick credentials, show what a leader he was and said i'll suspend my campaign. >> terrible decision. >> go there and fix the crisis. >> barack obama meanwhile handled it cooley and said i can walk and chew gum at the same time. i'm going to be a senator and go to washington and deal with this. the country saw a lot more calm, a lot more status and a lot more mo ma which you arty in barack obama in that moment and i think if you look at the grief that mitt romney's taking from this statement right now and again i think all justifiable, a similar effect on foreign policy and what comes away is mitt romney's response is ready, fire aim. >> if you look at the graph there, national head to head, obama-mccain, that point where they cross and obama takes the lead and never looks back is september 15th, the day that lehman brothers filed chapter 11.
>> this week. >> yeah. which happens to be this week, exactly. so the timing of it is exactly the same. you know, i think there's -- i don't want to make too much of it because the financial crisis so directly impacted every american and was so terrifying i think it does have a bigger impact but in terms of -- and lasted for the rest of the campaign. >> yeah. >> but in 2008, that was the big question for barack obama then candidate obama. who are you going to be ready to take that call at 3:00 a.m.? are you going to be ready and mature and able to handle those decisions and in that moment he proved he was the guy to take that call at 3:00 a.m. i think there's similar questions right now about mitt romney, particularly on foreign policy. are you really ready to be the face of the united states on the national stage? and this was both an opportunity and a perilous moment for the romney campaign and i think they ended up creating a massive problem for them whereas if they
had followed the strategy you outlined it could have been an opportunity for them. >> seems the afghanistan mistake or mission or whatever you want to call it is in his house. talking trash on the court, you can't make that three pointer and trying to make it and extra tense and pushing. he's, yeah, yipping, pushing. but this is part of post truth campaigning which is what we're in this season. accusing obama of doing things that he's actually not doing and it's this sort of thing that you pointed out with the media where we just make an assessment. it's not true. people read the headline. they don't read the correction. you don't see that's not true. you have to be in the game to dig deeper and go there's not gutting the requirements from work requirements of welfare and no movement to take the money off and obama didn't make the statement. somebody else made the statement an tries to feed in to the narratives, old knave tirs of obama as an american apologist.
the foolishness of romney's reaction is glaring and i wish i could remember who wrote this. >> just don't ask me the headline. >> steve korniaki wrote this. >> i think he needs to stick to policy instead of procedure. obama's always going to win. he's the president. stick to criticizing policy. coming up, let's not forget it's not just about the white house. congress holds a lot of power with foreign policy future. up next, the key senate races to shift control in the capitol.
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may be just as critical. the situation is this. the democrats control the senate. the republicans don't win the president republican need a net gain of four seats to do that. democrats have caught a lot of breaks. olympia snowe in maine. todd akin. so all of a sudden if you take a look at the map, the chances are 50-50 to who controls it next year and talking it all over with jennifer duffy. she knows all things about all senate races and an invaluable resource to me through the years. jennifer, thank you for joining us. i guess we just wanted to go through a few of the races that interested us must and massachusetts, that scott brown versus elizabeth warren and i can't figure this race out. a year ago, every big name
democrat in the state was taking a pass on it. elizabeth warren is in and then a toss-up race and now democrats and they're sounding dejected maybe. when's your read on massachusetts? >> well, exactly. i think if you asked democrats a year ago, they would say it would have been over by labor day. they underestimated scott brown's appeal to massachusetts voters and underestimated elizabeth warren's, you know, performance as a first-time candidate. she has made some rookie errors. think eve been hard to fix. and then there have been a lot of questions about the tone of her ads. so i think this is a very competitive race. in fact, in the last few polls scott brown is running ahead. there is a path to victory for him here. >> all right. jennifer, my home state of virginia, we have two heavyweights, tim kaine versus george allen. what's going on down there in virginia? >> this is the race i love to
hate because it's been a race that's been so close since the day it started very early in 2011. you have two very qualified candidates. you have a very competitive presidential race. this is the one race in the country as a presidential race goes in virginia, so does the senate race an it's going to be for the campaigns about getting every single one of the voters out. >> jennifer, go to the show-me state, the king of junk science is still in the race, todd akin is hanging on. how's he still in the race? >> delusioned? i think probably is the answer to that. look. he is still in the race and a poll out today showing it fairly close. here's the reality. the reality is about money. he has bolstered raising $400,000 and the mccaskill campaign banked about $5 million in television for the fall. i don't know how he competes with that. >> all right. let's go to linda mcmahon in connecticut. there's a piece of northeast
republicans show signs of life. talking about linda mcmahon's three-point lead so worrisome to democrats they were shuttling the candidate around charlotte in the dnc to beg for cash. obama had connecticut by 23 points in 2008. are we really going to see a republican in connecticut in 2012? >> look. it's possible. i think that, one, this is one of the biggest surprises of the cycle, how competitive the race is and we think back to the 2010 race and mcmahon ran and we need to realize that chris murphy while a solid candidate is not dick blumenthal. he doesn't have a decade or more of credibility with voters. he's not well-known outside his district. connecticut is a very, very expensive state. mcmahon has run a much better campaign. she put murphy on the defensive early and that's helped her and
i would note that in polling obama's not doing nearly as well this time around as he did in 2008. >> right. >> so we talk about connecticut. if mcmahon wins that race that's an upset for republicans and one not on the radar at the start of the cycle. do you see on the democratic side a seat out there and democrats pull a surprise in november we're not talking about right now? >> well, i mean, i think that my problem is, you know, if it's a real surprise i wouldn't know what it is. right? i spent so much time with the races that i think that there are a couple of worth looking at. one is indiana. another solidly red state where the democrat joe don nelly keeping pace with republican richard murdoch and the other that may turn in to a race is possibly in arizona where the democrat carmona running against congressman flake and the polling is a close race but honestly that race has only just begun. >> jennifer, thanks for joining us. we appreciate it.
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gallup has him up by seven now but a major to poll is by phone and i can't remember the last time i picked up the home phone. somewhere along the line i stopped picking up the home line and every time it rings my wife says, why do we have that? i don't know i say. a large number of americans are untethered. the's ways of communicating with the world but have pollsters kept pace or finding themselves a step behind and e-mailing is old school and the home phone seems an acronistic. pew says the contact rate down 17% since 1997. how does the industry move forward? with us steven shepard. steve, how's the industry adapting to a world where the intersunset now dominant? >> trying a number of different tactics. one of them is something that's been more prominent is calling cell phones. people like you said we're up to now a third of adult americans
don't have a home phone, let alone answer it, and pew's finding that, a, people are harder to reach and, b, people are less likely to participate if you reach them. some people are experimenting with internet polling and whether you make that representative of the overall population and really stuck in the middle of phone polling's out of date and internet polling isn't perfected yet and in a weird middle ground where we're not sure what the future holds and people aren't sure what we're going to be doing next. >> there's a reason book of "power of habit" talking about target one of many firms knows what you're going to do before you do it. they talked about knowing people, women are breg nant before they tell the people around them. based on the things they buy. is there a way you think in the future of looking at people and saying, like, this is what you like and where you live and what you buy, this is what you're all about. we know who you vote for before you even tell us? >> that may be a few years away.
i think, though, with the way the industry's moving is that people in whether it's 2016 or 2020 are surveyed the way they want to be surveyed and whether that's over the internet or over their smartphones or over something we don't know of yet. the iphone 12, that remains to be seen. >> you know, steve, i don't have a home line. i will not answer my cell phone if i don't recognize the number. i wonder, too, sit there and think about it, how are we reaching a representative sample of people and the polls and 2010 senate races, governor's races and even the republican presidential primaries this year and seems to me there's still fairly accurate. should we -- how much should we be relying seeing obama versus romney numbers? are they still relatively accurate? >> pollsters do a pretty good job of compensating for these things but the reality is when pew finds that only 9% of the people they try to call participate in their polls you have to wonder if that 9% if
there might be something about the 9% to skew the poll one way or the other, politically or whether it has to do with the poll on what americans think about a nonpolitical issue or what their behaviors are, with regard to their own health. so, i think that, you know, we're getting to a point now where as that 9%, if it falls any farther, we might have to worry about how representative they are. >> steve, also how much of this is not just technology and changing demographics but people don't want to be polled. i'm as politically engaged as it gets. if i see that number coming across my phone, i'm not answering it. if a survey comes across line, i'm not taking it. i don't want to be asked these questions. how much is disinterest and leave me alone mentality? >> it's a lot of that.
privacy is a big factor. why people aren't participating in polls and the people who do want to participate -- the good news is for political polling, people more likely to want to participate in political surveys are the same people who are more likely to vote than nonvoters. so, that is why political surveys are hanging on, but as the response rate continues to fall, if it does, and there's every expectation it will, because it's been falling for 15 years, you start to wonder if that's going to be the case in four years. >> and is there a concern that the results are skewing or the sample is skewing older because out of the 34% of households that are cell phone only, i would expect a large percentage of those would be younger voters and that younger voters would be harder to reach by phone or even by address than by internet. is that a concern as well? >> that is a big concern. you said it's 34% of households don't have a land line phone, but among households -- among adults under 30, it's more than half.
and among seniors it's 8.5% don't have land line phone. a lot of robo automated polling, public policy polling, they don't call cell phones. so, they're going to end up with a lot of older voters versus younger voters. the younger voters they do talk to, they're going to have to weight those with such weight it could amplify any errors they find. >> steven, thank you very much. >> thank you for having me. >> up next, professor on no matter what the gop says, president obama is no jimmy carter. >> that's why every president since the great depression who came before the american people asking for a second term could look back at the last four years and say with satisfaction, you're better off than you were four years ago. except jimmy carter. and except this president. to your detergent's scent? you better believe it. sparkle up your world by sprinkling the stimulating gain fireworks scent booster
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the people of the united states have made the choice and, of course, i accept that decision. but i have to admit not with the same enthusiasm i accepted the decision four years ago. >> there are plenty of conservatives who are convinced barack obama will be reenacting that scene come this november. a first-term democratic president failed by a bad economy and sagging national confidence and forced to admit defeat. the right is dusting off its beloved obama as jimmy carter comparison, in an effort to prove mitt romney shouldn't be worried about falling a few points behind obama. the idea is carter was on course to beat ronald reagan until the
closing days of the 1988 campaign only for reagan to surge ahead. the romney campaign argued itself this week, political campaign historians will recall carter led reagan by near double-digit margin in the fall of 1980. maybe if they're bad historiance that's what they'll recall. they'll realize what a lousy source the 1980 election is as a source of inspiration. yes, economic anxiety was rampant, volatility in the middle east today. today we're talking about attacks in iran and benghazi. back then it was tehran and hostages. carter's political standing was much, much worse than obama's is today. take their approval ratings. obama just got a small convention bounce. his approval rating is now 50%. carter got a bounce from his convention, too, from 21% all the way to 31%. that means jimmy carter was
running for re-election with the same popularity that george w. bush had in 1998. obama isn't in great shape but doing a lot better than that. you can compare the trend lines. daily polling averages from 1980. reagan catches carter in the middle of may, builds his lead out to more than 20 points over the summer and holds onto it even after the democratic convention. he surges in the final days but all it does is take a five-point race and make it a ten-point rout. look at this year's. romney has never led. not once. in 1980 the country had given up on carter. a big chunk of his party had given up on him. if wasn't for the embassy siege carter would have been dethroned. many remember the economic catastrophe obama inherited and are willing to cut him some slack. it's translated into a job
approval rating that's not great but gives obama a fighting chance to hold on. jimmy carter in 1980, never had a prayer. okay, that does it for us on "the cycle" today. martin bashir, it's all yours. >> mr. kornacki, thank you. it's wednesday, september the 12th and here's what's happening. the manation mourns and hons the fallen. >> today the people stand united and holding the families of the four americans in our thoughts and in our prayers. >> we must be clear-eyed even in our grief. >> while an opportunist doubles down. >> i think it's a -- a terrible course to -- for america to stand in apology for our values. the statement that came from the administration was a statement which is